Life Advice



Annie's Mailbo: Bombed in Birmingham

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I am married to one of four siblings who dutifully took care of their aged parents until their mother died a few years ago. Daddy, in his mid-80s, met a bevy of women at his new upscale care facility and proposed marriage to one of them within two weeks. She turned him down, but a mutual friend accepted and she secretly married Daddy shortly thereafter.

The woman has two children, both in professional jobs, one of whom is an attorney. At first, we liked the stepmother, laughed a bit and everyone got along well. But 18 months later, Daddy died and we discovered that he had drafted a document leaving his estate, worth almost a million dollars, to her.

Now the stepmother will not answer any of our calls and hangs up if we somehow manage to get through. We certainly feel slighted, but this woman is our legal stepmother and we would, with civility, like to make our case to her to use some of that money to help with our children's college tuitions. How do we address her? -- Bombed in Birmingham

Dear Bombed: Oh, my. We're certain our readers will come up with many names you can call her, none of which are printable. Your 80-something father-in-law signed over his estate to a woman he barely knew, they married in secret, and it lasted a short time. This entire situation sounds fishy. You need a lawyer. Now.

Dear Annie: I had been living with "Rafe" for 10 years until we split up several months ago. Recently, he called to say that his brother had died. I wanted to attend the funeral, but Rafe said he didn't want me to be there because we weren't together anymore.

This made me upset and it hurt. Then he said his family probably wouldn't want me there, either. Since I knew his brother, I feel I should have shown up and paid respects. What difference does it make if we're together or not? I don't know how I'm supposed to feel now. I am sensitive and Rafe doesn't care that he hurts my feelings. -- Ex-Girlfriend

Dear Ex: This isn't about you. It is about Rafe and his family. If they were uncomfortable having you at the funeral, it was right for you to stay away. It is natural that you wanted to pay your respects, but their feelings come first. It would be very gracious of you to send a condolence card to Rafe and his family, expressing your sadness over their loss, and perhaps sharing a fond memory of Rafe's brother.


Dear Annie: I'd like to weigh in on servers calling people "Hon" or "Sweetheart."

I'm a widower in my late 60s. I agree almost entirely with those who dislike being called "Sweetie," by servers. But the fact is, I have never had a young male address me in any way I found offensive. However, it is a daily ritual for me with the young ladies.

I used to go to a coffee shop four times a week. About three years ago, as if someone flipped a switch, I began to be addressed as "Sweetie" or "Sweetheart." It came with a condescending tone, too. I heard them address older women the same way. I quit going there. I took my late wife's brother to our local steakhouse. The young hostess escorted us to the darkest corner and after we were seated, lit the table candle and said coyly, "This will make it more romantic for you guys."

Maybe these young females should get some sensitivity training before they are put into positions where they come into contact with the public. Just because we are over 60 doesn't mean we suddenly need coddling. -- Sonora, California


This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at



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